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May 11

Remembering the “King of Western Swing,” Bob Wills

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It has been 43 years since Bob Wills passed away, however, his contribution to the world of country music is still widely adopted and remembered by many. Without Bob Wills, there wouldn’t be a Texas Playboy and there wouldn’t be the western swing that we know of. Wills was one of the pioneers of western swing together with his band. Therefore, today we remember Wills and the music he created that we now enjoy.

Wills Fiddle Band

Before, the Texas Playboys Wills was part of another band called the Wills Fiddle Band. Wills formed the band with Herman Arnspiger. Then in 1930, Milton Brown joined the band. It didn’t take that long when the band went their separate ways. After that, Wills already formed the famous band that he played with until 1963, after his second heart attack.

“New San Antonio Rose”

The very first song recorded by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys was in September 1935. Wills’ and the Texas Playboys sold-out hit was “New San Antonio Rose” in 1940. Although they have released a lot of top performing records, people knew Will and his band when “New San Antonio Rose”  was played.

Western Swing

Around 1940’s Bob Will’s and his band made western swing popular. He added drums and electric guitar to the band. He and his band continued to tour South and Pacific Northwest while still having a radio broadcast. Many people danced to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys music, making them popular and giving them more opportunity to play in more venues.

Western Swing Gave Birth to Rock and Roll

Will’s western swing paved the way for what we know now as the country rock genre. He was inducted into the Country Hall of Fame in 1968 and was awarded Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame in 1970. Furthermore, due to his influence on the rock and roll music, he was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was an influence to many country musicians then and now, including Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and many more.

Cause of Death

He had his first heart attack in 1962, but the following year he was able to return to performing and recording a new album. Then in 1964, he had another heart attack which led him to disband the Texas Playboys. After his second heart attack, Wills performed as a solo artist. In 1975, Wills suffered a massive stroke that led to a comatose.

It may have been 43 years already but Bob Wills still is the “King of Western Swing” and without him, the music that we know now will never have existed.

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